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Twitter cyberattack to be investigated by FBI as US Senate demands company explain incident

In a letter to CEO Jack Dorsey, Senate Commerce committee chair Roger Wicke said it “cannot be overstated how troubling this incident is" and raised concerns over the platform's ability to spread disinformation

Twitter Inc - Twitter cyberattack to be investigated by FBI as US Senate demands company explain incident

The cyberattack on social media giant Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) which saw the accounts of some of the world’s most famous people hacked to promote a Bitcoin scam will be investigated by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Accounts belonging to figures including Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Amazon Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) head Jeff Bezos were among those hacked on Tuesday, with the accounts tweeting messages that said users that sent US$1,000 to a linked Bitcoin address would see the money doubled and then returned under the guise of giving back to the community during the coronavirus pandemic.

READ: Twitter CEO apologises after high profile users hacked by Bitcoin scammers

The FBI said the public should be vigilant in the wake of the scam, saying the accounts appeared to have been targeted to perpetuate cryptocurrency fraud.

Other accounts hacked during the attack included Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, former president Barack Obama, and music star (and brief presidential hopeful) Kanye West.

Official company accounts of Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Uber Technologies Inc (NYSE:UBER) were also compromised.

Meanwhile, Twitter has been called to brief the Commerce committee of the US Senate on the incident before next Thursday.

In a letter to the company’s chief executive, Jack Dorsey, committee chair Roger Wicker said it “cannot be overstated how troubling this incident is, both in its effects and in the apparent failure of Twitter’s internal controls to prevent it”.

“Millions of Americans who follow notable figures on Twitter believe that the posts they see from those figures are legitimate. In this case, that trust appears to have been violated for the personal monetary gain of the hacker. It is not difficult to imagine future attacks being used to spread disinformation or otherwise sow discord through high-profile accounts, particularly those of world leaders”, Wicker added.

Shares in Twitter were steady at US$35.28 in pre-market trading in New York on Friday.

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